LYNCHBURG, Va. — The High Point University women’s track & field team posted three top-three individual finishes en route to a sixth-place finish at the Big South Championship on Saturday in Lynchburg, Va. Senior Kelsey Hunt was HPU’s top scorer, placing third in the 10,000-meter and fourth in the 5,000-meter for 11 points.
“We’re really improving and we got a lot of our scoring from our younger athletes,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “Kelsey had another excellent performance in her last Big South Championship. Our runners are coming along and, looking at events like the javelin and pole vault, we’re really set up to improve next year.”
Freshman Christine Rickert was HPU’s top finisher in the meet, placing second in the javelin on Friday. She got a distance of 45.72 meters (150-0) on her fifth attempt and led most of the competition before Liberty’s Christina Mitchell heaved a distance of 46.57 meters (152-9) on her fifth throw, which was the winner.
Hunt placed third in the 10,000-meter on Thursday with a time of 36:55.79. She came back to take fourth in the 5,000-meter with a time of 17:28.59 on Saturday. Freshman Lauren Blackwell placed fourth in the 10,000-meter in 37:10.27, giving HPU 11 points in that event.
On Friday, junior Audrey Malloy placed fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a career-best time of 10:58.75. Junior Colleen Hollowood placed sixth in the 800-meter in an outdoor-best 2:16.61 on Saturday.
The Panthers racked up nine points in the pole vault on Friday, led by freshman Alyssa Palenchar’s third-place finish. Palenchar cleared an HPU-record 3.65 meters (11-11.75) on her second attempt. Sophomore Catelyn Griffin took seventh and freshman Jill Marois placed eighth, both clearing 3.35 meters (10-11.75).
The Panthers’ two relays both finished in season-best times and combined to score seven points. HPU’s 4×400 relay of Emily Fischer, Hollowood, Kaitlin Whittington and Lilla Lorand finished fifth in 3:54.91. The 4×100 relay team of Emily De Lena, Michelle Stolz, Whittington and Fischer finished sixth in 49.03.
High Point had ninth-place finishers in four events.
The Panthers’ sixth-place finish is up from eighth a year ago. HPU also finished sixth at the Big South Indoor Championship in February.
Liberty defended its home track with 210 points for the win, topping runner-up Coastal Carolina’s 203.25 in a close race. Charleston Southern placed third with 89.5 points followed by Campbell (74), UNC Asheville (51.75) and High Point (48). Gardner-Webb took seventh with 42.5 points followed by Winthrop (39), VMI (38) and Radford (23).
High Point is back in action on May 5 when the Panthers go to the Duke Twilight Meet. Several Panthers will continue to train for the NCAA Championship Preliminary, which will be held May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C.